November 29, 2021

In the News: A Lack of Access: Pharma is Failing to Ensure New Antibiotics Will Be Available to Poor Countries, Analysis Finds

A 2016 U.K. report forecasted drug-resistant infections may kill up to 10 million people a year by 2050, which makes containing antimicrobial resistance a critical area of need. Public health experts are raising alarms over the pharmaceutical industry’s abilities to address challenges and inequities evident in accessing antibiotic treatments in low- and middle-income countries.

An analysis in STAT of a report by the Access to Medicines Foundation explored the industry’s approach to antibiotic development. Among the shortcomings it found were that only one-third of 166 antibiotic treatments assessed have any kind of strategy in place, such as affordability price adjustments or supply-boosting licensing agreements, for low- and middle-income countries. In addition, drug makers worldwide, large and small, have left the market and placed the weight of vital research work onto 200-300 very small companies.

Drug makers claim that investments in antimicrobial research do not provide sufficient returns due to some provider practices and that governments need to become involved in encouraging development. Action on that point is underway in the U.S., the U.K., and Sweden, as cited in the analysis. For more on antimicrobial resistance and its impacts, view the PIDS World Antimicrobial Awareness Week webinar on-demand.

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